The boys helped as we planted flowers in our flower beds, working in the soil and enjoying getting dirty and capturing roly-polies and worms. And as life moves forward at its relentless pace, Matthew took on the responsibility of mowing the lawn all by himself for the first time. Dominick and I stood side by side, watching him with his "cool shades" on waving at us like a pro. We were quiet for a moment and I commented that I remember it seems only a short while ago that he was 2 years old and Dominick had him on his lap as he was mowing the lawn all the while joking about how someday it would be Matthew's job to do it when he was a big boy. As we looked on at our strong, responsible and capable son we realized that day had come...and how we wished we could turn back time in spite of the joy at seeing them all mature. The letting go is so hard, and it happens in these tiny spurts as they stretch and settle in to the new person they are becoming, having left a piece of their childish selves behind. He's only 9, we are still a family with young children, but those days are numbered and passing quickly and how I hate that we have to eventually leave this precious time behind.
Spring announced its arrival in a less conventional way this morning at our church as well, as we welcomed a new minister. A year long process has ended, and so much was learned throughout. Resilience as a congregation was revealed, bonds were tightened, and hearts were opened to accept a new shepherd of our flock. We have been incredibly blessed to find someone who is obviously listening to the Spirit in accepting this call to our congregation, who feels this is the place they are to be. For me, strangely, there is a sense of familiarity with this person that I can not explain, which I can't quite pinpoint. Is it that they remind me of someone else I have known in the past? Is this person just of similar thought and mind which makes it it feel so comfortable? Or is it that this is a person that God has planted in my life for a strong purpose and I am merely recognizing that fact, feeling the Spirit working overtime with me? Time will tell, I am sure. But I will admit that it is oddly comforting and unsettling at the same time. There are several incredible, loving key people who have been "planted" in front of me right now, people I will learn from, people who will chastise and encourage me, people who are saying over and over again what I can't seem to believe..."Yes Cindy, you may not see it but we do..." as I try to put the pieces of my life together and try and discern what in the world God is doing with someone like me.
I am in such a weird place in my faith journey right now...feeling on the brink of new discoveries and deeper understandings and yet at moments truly wanting to run from it all and put my head under a pillow in an effort to ignore God's requests of me. I STILL have no idea where I am being led, which drives me crazy as I am a typical Virgo style planner who needs to know everything well in advance to be secure...although I have improved enormously in that area and work at it daily to let go of the illusion of control.
So while my own personal faith life has been in a spring for a year or more now, my church family is entering a new phase and will hopefully blossom in new and unexpected ways. I am hoping for surprises, for an ever deepening spirituality, for a branching out and an embracing of new ways of being and seeing. The potential is there, and today I felt an inner excitement that another step was taken in that direction with our selection of a new minister.
I also found myself extremely humbled and I would even go so far as to say embarrassed by comments made to me by others involved in this whole process. I am having a hard time figuring out my place in this world, let alone in my congregation...what my role is, where God wants me, what all of this means for me. Through others today and yesterday I felt a bit like "Cindy" is being seen as someone I really am not, I don't really know how to explain it but sometimes people view you through rose colored glasses and you see yourself through the more realistic dirty coke-bottle lenses that are far more appropriate. I am just me, I am not in any way unique nor should my needs be seen as any more or any less important than the person in the pew next to me.
I love my church family so very, very much...each and every one of them holds a special place in my heart and I DO want to serve them in ways I can, but I know in my heart that my best efforts will always pale in comparison to others who are far better equipped and educated. But my heart is there, it will always be there. Now, what to do with all of this remains yet to be seen...and it is scary as I feel it can not be ignored. I also feel SO stupid sometimes, so terribly inadequate to ever effectively do anything of value that would allow others to see God in and through me. And for me, no matter how ridiculous that sounds to many of you who are not really into all this "Christianity" stuff, it is very, very important that all I am and all I do reflect that Love that surpasses all. I guess it is because it as at those moments that I feel whole. Again, I know this is not making sense to most of you, but this is my "working it out" place and I will be working on this for a very long time, I think.
So as the branches spread far and wide, reaching...shading...protecting...so too does our work in our church and our larger community. We worship, we praise, we leave the gathering place and go out and take all that we are and lay it out for all to see. It leaves us vulnerable to judgment but it also leaves us yearning for more. Spring is here, new life will appear, we let go of the old and grab on to the new.
Spring bring swith it hope in every area of my life...as we wait and wait and wait...thankfully, there is finally peace as we move forward in at least one area and reside no longer in limbo but find ourselves looking forward with anticipation. We have much to rejoice in, much to celebrate, and much happiness that will soon come our way. The last of our "births" will take place in the coming months as our family grows for the final time...my spring will last longer than just these few weeks as we rest in the knowledge that our Mighty God runs it all, and does so much better than we ever can. For every thing, there is a season...and a reason. We just aren't always privy to it.
Happy Spring Sunday!